Europe in No Position to Trigger JCPOA Dispute Mechanism
EghtesadOnline: European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal are not authorized to use the dispute resolution mechanism within the agreement because Iran’s nuclear measures have been adopted based on its legitimate rights, an Iranian top diplomat said, in response to comments by France that it is seriously considering triggering the mechanism.
"Under the current circumstances, JCPOA does not allow Europe to resort to this mechanism in response to Iran exercising its legitimate right to respond to the United States' illegal and unilateral measures and the European parties' fundamental breach of their obligations," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Thursday, using the abbreviation of the deal's formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, ISNA reported.
The mechanism involves a party referring a dispute to a Joint Commission comprising Iran, Russia, China, the three European powers and the European Union, and then on to the United Nations Security Council if that commission cannot resolve it. This could culminate in a so-called "snapback" of previous UN sanctions on Tehran.
On Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned of triggering the mechanism because Iran is exceeding the limits set in the nuclear agreement step by step, Financial Tribune reported.
"Every two months, there is another dent [in the deal by Iran] to the point where today we ask ourselves, and I'm saying this very clearly, about the implementation of the dispute resolution mechanism that exists in the deal," Le Drian told a parliamentary hearing, Reuters reported.
Iran adopted the plan a year after the United States unilaterally pulled out of the accord and restored sanctions on Tehran while European parties proved unable to protect the country's economy through their half-hearted financial initiatives.
Iranian officials, however, have declared that all steps will be immediately reversed once the country's economic woes are addressed, which requires a mechanism through which Iran can trade its oil.
"The purpose and logic behind the dispute resolution mechanism envisioned in JCPOA is to consider remedial measures for both sides and Iran's plan is in line with exercising its right under Article 36," Mousavi said.
The article contains provisions for a possible occasion when a party is deemed to be out of compliance, in which case the other side can reduce its own.
Mousavi censured the French diplomat's comments, describing them as "irresponsible" and "non-constructive".
"These remarks … seriously disturb the efficiency of political initiatives to ensure the full implementation of JCPOA by all parties," he said.
France had been leading efforts to save JCPOA both by devising mechanisms to facilitate trade with Iran and mediating between Iran and the US to settle their conflict diplomatically. None of the attempts, however, has yielded a satisfactory result.
Le Drian also claimed in his remarks that their initiatives are "going backwards" due to Iran's recent activities in the region, which was already an issue of western concern and among the US pretexts to exit the nuclear deal along with Tehran's missile program.
"We've established that regional attacks, notably on Saudi Arabia, from the Iranian authorities have been carried out," he claimed.
The Middle East has seen several attacks in recent months on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, and most recently, on Saudi key oil facilities. Washington and Riyadh, later joined by France, Britain and Germany, have blamed the assaults on Iran that denies involvement.